Every year, for my birthday, I give myself a present. In 2015, I gave myself permission to ask….
I began writing essays and grassfed recipes and posting them to my website shortly after Saoirse was born in 2003. Since that time, I’ve lost count of how many essays I’ve written, and I never tried to count the number of recipes. Now, every week, thousands of readers return to this site to learn about cooking grassfed meat, to ponder a different way of life, to seek inspiration on their own alternative paths, to find courage to make changes in their lives. Every year, hundreds of grassfed farmers print off my recipes to share with customers so that their cooking experiences will be positive. At farmers’ markets across the country, customers stand and read over farmers’ dog-eared copies of my books, snapping photos of recipes with their iPhones. Every week my essays are read throughout North America, as well as in South America, the Middle East, Europe, Australia and Asia. The essays are bundled into collected anthologies and published, they are distributed in college classrooms. They are printed off and handed around, forwarded through email, reposted on Facebook. They are read by lawmakers, by the media, and by people like you, who dream of a sustainable future, where family, community, spirit, justice and the health of the planet are at the soul of every life choice. They are read, quoted and distributed by the radical left, by ardent libertarians, by the conservative right, by militant centrists.
I am not paid for any of this.
I am regularly approached with opportunities to “monetize” my blog. I’ve been offered advertising income by companies seeking to reach folks who match my “reader profile.” I’ve been offered money to post 3rd party “guest blogs” that promote certain products in their text.
I ignore them. That’s not what you want. That’s not what I’m about.
But even after accounting for the sale of books, it costs me over $10,000.00 per year to maintain the blog.
I don’t want advertising. I don’t want to put my writing behind a wall and charge for subscriptions. I want my online posts to continue to be free for all. This is my contribution to the collective consciousness. Sharing with you feeds my soul. But I have a family to take care of, too. And I would like to experience the pleasure of being remunerated for my creative effort.
Blogging or Farming?
Yes, the farm feeds us. But when I am producing for the blog, I am not producing for the farm. And that eats away at our bottom line. While some of our farm customers might become blog patrons (please? pretty please?) our 500 farm customers cannot be expected to subsidize the cost of this blog for the thousands upon thousands of readers who use it. If I did that, Sap Bush Hollow food would become prohibitively expensive, or we would have to expand our production beyond what is sustainable.
On my family’s farm, we grow, make and sell products. But these weekly essays are not products. They are my art, created in communion with you, my readers. They represent our direct relationship. There is no publisher coming between us, making money on my craft, separating me from you, charging you a fee to access my work.
And so, I am asking you directly to help me keep going. Many of you who read this are not in a position to patronize my work. But many of you are. And those of you who are in a position to throw a few dollars my way are making my writing available for everyone else. Your dollars are helping me to do what I love to do. And your dollars are helping to cultivate change through the power of generosity.
Here is how it works.
Below you see the DONATE button. When you click it, you’ll be given some choices. You can make a one-time donation in any amount that you like, or you can set up a recurring monthly, quarterly, or annual donation.
Every dollar counts.
I’m happy if you throw me a buck or two (or five) each time you like an essay. Think of it as tossing coins into a busker’s hat. Or maybe you want to give me a one-time donation for the year. Here are some suggested levels, with a few little thank you gifts thrown in:
$100 donation – Thanks! We’ll hand-paint your name onto a mug to keep in our cafe for whenever you come see us.
$200 donation – That’s just swell! We’ll get your name on a mug, and then, come December, I’ll send you a copy of Long Way on a Little, my most comprehensive cookbook.
$500 donation – Oh, yippee! We’ll get your name on a mug. And this December, I’ll send you a copy of Long Way on a Little, and our farmers’ soaps.
$1000 donation– You’re kind. You’re a believer. Wow. We’ll do up a mug for you. I’ll send you a pair of homemade socks (send me your shoe size!), a set of soaps….And an entire library of all my books in print to keep for yourself, or to donate to your local library.
$2000 donation – Really? You mean it? Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou! And … let’s talk. Is there someone in your life who longs to become a radical homemaker? Someone who is trying to make it with a family farm? Someone who needs some one-on-one phone time? Let’s set up a series of four one-hour phone consultations to help them on their path. Please contact me directly about making this donation.
$4000 donation – Holy moly. Wow. Huzzah. Golly. Really? Yes? Wow. Holy moly. Ok.TTTHHHAAAANNNNKKKK YOUUUUUU!!!!! Say! Let’s get together. I’d like to invite you and one other guest to come stay with me and my family for two nights. I’ll cook. We’ll drink wine. Or beer. Or herbal tea. Whatever floats your boat. But before you come, let’s talk about some of your goals. Do you need some time talking about a family farm business? Setting goals? Learning more about pasture management? Animal husbandry? Chicken processing? Or maybe you want to learn about canning or lacto-fermentation or knitting? Or maybe you just want to go sit alone in the woods. I can show you my favorite places. Please contact me directly about making this donation.
There. I’ve asked.
You are welcome to say no.
My ask is not conditional. I will keep writing. Even if no one pays a dime. My creative work is my gift to you. But if you are able to make a gift back, then thank you.